April 20, 2012

Seeking a spark: Julien makes major changes to B's lines

By Jesse Connolly

BOSTON – With his team having scored just seven goals through the first four games of their opening round series against the Washington Capitals, Claude Julien decided it was time to make some major changes.

The new-look Bruins took to the ice at TD Garden at 1:15 p.m. on Friday afternoon. David Krejci centered Milan Lucic and Brian Rolston. Daniel Paille and Rich Peverley flanked Patrice Bergeron. Tyler Seguin moved down to the third line to join Chris Kelly and Benoit Pouliot, with Jordan Caron also subbing in for certain drills with the trio. Brad Marchand was dropped to the fourth line alongside Greg Campbell and Shawn Thornton, taking the spot he occupied for the first few months of the 2010-11 campaign.

“Making line changes, that’s a part of trying to find solutions and it’s as simple as that,” Julien said after the half-hour session. “You’ve got to mix up guys who are not getting the results that we’d like to. So, you’re trying to make changes that will maybe spark that part of our game.”

While Seguin – one of many key forwards that hasn’t recorded a point in this series yet -- said he didn’t view the move as any sort of message sending, Brad Marchand seemed to “think it was an attempt by Julien to light a fire under those struggling, himself included.

Yeah a little bit, but it’s up to me to respond,” Marchand said. “I’ve played with Soupy and Thorty last year and we played really well together. Hopefully we can bring that intensity. We were pretty offensive last year too so hopefully we can bring that as well.”

When asked about the play of David Krejci -- Boston’s first line pivot who has also been blanked through four tilts and had zero shots on net in Thursday’s Game 4 loss – Julien vowed to not throw anyone under the bus, but he did stress the urgency of his squad as a whole turning things around promptly.

“If we don’t get going there may not be time for him to find his game,” the coach said. “So, it’s not about David Krejci because right now David Krejci is not the problem. I think – we’re not pointing fingers at one guy here. I think as a team we’ve got to be better and there’s a lot of guys that can be better.

“When your top scorers aren’t scoring there’s no doubt that, I guess, the attention goes their way. We certainly want those guys to produce but that’s what has to happen – we’ve got to be able to elevate our game. Some of those guys have to find their game and they’re all aware of that.”

Despite the tweaks and the growing sense that the clock is ticking for those mired in the most untimely of slumps, Marchand said the Bruins remain a confident bunch heading into Game 5 on Saturday afternoon.

“No we feel good, we’re not even focused on Sunday’s game right now,” the scrappy winger said. “We’ve got to worry about tomorrow. It’s a big game and we want to put ourselves in the best position possible. We’re feeling good and we just have to make sure we bring our best game tomorrow.”

Jesse Connolly can be reached at jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseNEHJ.